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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Changing Marine Biogeochemical Cycles (EASC10123)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course focuses on processes and impacts on the marine environment from changing marine biogeochemical cycles.
Course description The ocean is vulnerable and its ecosystem function and services are under severe threat related to climate change. Ocean warming, acidification and deoxygenation have global impact that can cascade through the food chain severely stressing ocean living resources which are already subject to multiple stressors of over exploitation, environmental degradation and habitat loss. Additionally, ocean plays a vital role in sequestering anthropogenic carbon but this uptake is expected to be impaired in uncertain ways due to these stresses in the medium and long term. The grand challenge facing scientists, policy-makers and the society at large is predicting, planning and mitigating for these changes. Meeting this grand challenge requires a clear understanding of the underpinning biogeochemical processes and cycles that mediate between physical changes and the ecosystems. The course will focus on these alrge scale marine biogeochemical cycles, discussing in depth the current evidence for change. The processes driving changes in the ocean ecosystem as a whole and potential mitigation practices will be discussed. The course aims to build on basic knowledge of marine sciences interrogating and placing these concepts in the context of current issues in marine science.
Course Outline:
Lecture 1: Review of large scale circulation and biological processes in the ocean.
Lectures 2 &3: Oceanic biological carbon pump, the carbonate counter pump and the ocean atmosphere CO2 exchange
Lectures 4 and 5: Nutrient and trace element cycling in the ocean (N, P, Si, Fe Etc), stoichiometry and nutrient limitation
Lectures 6 and 7: tracers of marine biogeochemical processes: principles and application
Lecture 8: Past changes and future of marine carbon and nutrient cycles.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2018/19, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  40
Course Start Semester 2
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 8, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 27, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 158 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) 100% Coursework:
1) Student presentations: (25%)
2) Independent essay: 50%
3) Group report: 25%
Feedback Not entered
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. attain an in-depth knowledge of the grand challenges to marine environment and their underpinning large scale marine biogeochemical cycles and processes relevant global change
  2. develop and strengthen ability for critical thinking, interrogating scientific knowledge and analysing evidences
  3. create awareness of limitations in current knowledge in this subject area
Reading List
- 'An Introduction to Marine Biogeochemistry', Susan M. Libes, Wiley, 1992
- 'Ocean Biogeochemical Dynamics', Jorge L. Sarmiento and Nicolas Gruber, Princeton University Press, 2006

A list of papers for the presentations/group essays will be provided during the course (e.g Science and Nature papers and review articles)
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills - Researching literature, oral presentation skills and essay writing
- Team work and scientific debates
KeywordsMarine Ecosystems,Biogeochemical cycles,Multiple stressors,global change
Course organiserDr Raja Ganeshram
Tel: (0131 6)50 7364
Course secretaryMiss Eilein Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430
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